Election 2020: Media exhibited "biased coverage in favour of the NPP or the NDC" – EU observers

The European Union Election Observers have said that the Ghanaian media was biased in its coverage of the election 2020.

Yaw Bbuabeng Asamoa speaking at NPP press conference

In the EOM’s preliminary report on the controversial December 7 elections published on its website on December 9, 2020, it said that unlike the opposition National Democratic Congress, the governing New Patriotic Party and its candidate Akufo-Addo enjoyed massive coverage by the state-owned media.

It further observed that for private media firms, bias was shown towards either the NPP or the NDC, mentioning a few media platforms analysed.

“The media reported freely on the elections in a polarized environment. State-owned GTV favoured the NPP in its election-related coverage. Furthermore, the ruling party and its presidential candidate benefited from extensive additional coverage on GTV, Uniiq FM and in the Daily Graphic through news and live broadcasts of government inaugurations. Various private media analysed by the EU EOM showed biased coverage in favour of the NPP (UTV, The Chronicle, Daily Guide) or the NDC (Adom FM and Joy FM).

“The two main parties deployed social media teams who posted content in a coordinated manner across a range of platforms to promote their presidential candidate and discredit the rival. Misinformation spread by both sides risked confusing voters and interfering in the formation of electoral opinions. Hate speech was not a feature of the online political discourse,” the European Union Observer Mission wrote on its official website.

The report underscores the NDC’s accusation of some media outlets of choosing to ignore irregularities that were detrimental to the party’s chances in the just-ended election.

Following the EC’s declaration of the election result on Wednesday, December 9, the NDC and its leader, former President John Mahama have claimed several times that the will of the people had been overturned.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Mr. Mahama said: "I stand before you tonight unwilling to accept the fictionalised result of a flawed election."

He emphasized that the NDC is "unable to accept the outcome of the election as declared by the Electoral Commission Chairperson, Mrs. Jean Mensah. Those results are flawed and discredited. The Electoral Commission of Ghana has never brought its credibility to this historic low at such a crucial moment of election result declaration. In fact, the litany of irregularities and blatant attempts at rigging for a candidate is obvious and most embarrassing."

On Saturday, December 12, 2020, hundreds of women embarked on a protest march in the streets of Accra to call for the reversal of the Electoral Commission’s declaration of President Akufo-Addo as the winner of the just-ended December 7 presidential election.

The women wearing red party paraphernalia with red caps hit the streets while others wore red armbands to register their objection to the declaration of Akufo-Addo as having been reelected.

A similar protest took place at Techiman, the capital of Techiman Municipal and Bono East Region where there is a disagreement between the NDC and NPP over a constituency election result.

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